"He lurks the hallway, with a silent breath that if heard could draw daggers. He has no fear of a dark death, having seen his master brutally murdered by his laughing nemesis, the would-be destroyer of his people. What he waits for, is what will allow him to keep his promise. His honor, his pride, his life, his friends are all at stake. "
He lurks the hallway, with a silent breath that if heard could draw daggers. He has no fear of a dark death, having seen his master brutally murdered by his laughing nemesis, the would-be destroyer of his people. What he waits for, is what will allow him to keep his promise. His honor, his pride, his life, his friends are all at stake.
Slowly, but surely, a monster comes along. It looks like a crab from the home world, with its deadly pincers and four legs that could only move in one direction. But the red-haired young man knew better, knew that the black creature was in his path, and would have to be eliminated.
In a soundless, almost shadowy movement, he runs up from behind and pierces through the monster with an effortless thrust. He leaves no room for mercy, and as he slays the monster known as a CIMA, the door ahead opens, allowing the fourteen pioneers that he was honor-bound to protect through.
The CIMA are creatures who have invaded an alternate dimension of the Earth. Instead of your normal mutated sentient who would try to kill you, the CIMA feed off human hope. To this extent, they trap people in dungeons. It is to this end that the humans yearn for a way to escape, a small but glimmering hope burning through in their heart, pumping their blood to do whatever it takes to escape.
A group of humans known as the Gate Guardians fight the CIMA, and protect the people. Ark and Ivy are two Gate Guardians who are assigned to guard a group of fourteen pioneers heading west onto the frontier by train. They must escort these settlers safely to their destination; however, the CIMA capture them on the way to the frontier, and separate the fourteen pioneers into fourteen different dungeons. It is up to Ark and Ivy to rescue the fourteen and stop the CIMA.
The premise sounds almost corny, but its execution is far from it.
Throughout sixteen dungeons, one will have to solve various puzzles, hit switches, slay certain monsters, and exterminate the CIMA in specific ways to lower columns that bar the player from progressing through the dungeon. Each dungeon is divided into various floors, and before one can advance to the next floor, one must gather all their pioneers to the section of the stairs.
However, this alone is tough, simply because each and every one of your pioneers can be attacked by the CIMA. And if even one of the sixteen characters in the game falls, a big fat Game Over will appear on your screen. Combine that with the fact that the settlers move in groups of four, and that only a few can fight back (And they have to be settled in one place first), a posse of indestructible CIMA nests which the CIMA come out of in an infinite supply, and a maximum of manually controllable characters at a time to fight, and your hands will be full with the management alone.
A player directs the pioneers by moving a white symbol over the room and indicating where the settlers are to go, and can indicate where to head thrice. The only problem with this feature is that sometimes a character can get caught behind a wall and try to move against the wall, but careful and good angular management can keep this flaw from becoming a problem.
As said earlier, a player may have to do many things to lower columns that prevent one from continuing on in a room, or raising bridges. Sometimes it may be killing a CIMA that did not originate from a nest; other times it might be hitting a CIMA off a ledge, and even hitting switches. But for the most part, it involves stone blocks and panels. Stone blocks require enough weight on it for something to happen; sometimes, the stimuli may be permanent, but other times, it will only last as long as there is enough weight. The second part, panels, consists of small floor panels that differentiate in color from the rest of the room’s floor. To make a change that is always permanent to something in the room, a player must have somebody stand on each of the panels. However, it is not always a human that is mandatory; some panels call for a CIMA to be standing on them. To this end the player will have to carefully lure the CIMA into their traps.
The action is your basic hack-and-slash game, or in a few cases, shoot-and-reload. While the A.I. sometimes is lacking, it provides a challenge to match sword on claw. However, one does not level up. There is a set amount of HP for each character, but there is no leveling up. This game does not stray into the RPG genre as much as one may think; however, one can upgrade their swords and armors to a maximum of four levels through the utilization of Material, found in dungeons along with other goodies.
After one defeats a CIMA, they may sometimes leave something behind – what may look like a scroll, an orb, a diamond, and a star. These are called Majesties, and they are fused together to create items. The Majesties react differently to each pioneer, making it cheaper to produce certain items with some people. However, before a pioneer will make an item with Ark and Ivy, that person must first trust them. To accomplish this, one must protect the person from bodily harm, or otherwise rescue him/her or another person from a dungeon quickly.
The only real complaint I have is on the difficulty of the bosses, which differentiate greatly from normal CIMA. While they do get somewhat easier once you learn their strategies, they are initially impossible, and they utilize cheap rather than challenging attacks.
In terms of graphics, this game uses chibi-style 3-dimensional characters in an overhead ¾ perspective. The up-front face portraits are well done, deeply distinguishing each character. Each of the sixteen sprawling areas uses their own unique terrain instead of resorting to similar graphics between each dungeon. The cutscenes are also quite well done, and not one of the CIMA has had their sprite recolored.
Sound-wise, CIMA offers some nice tracks. Although it may be nothing special compared to other games, it has its own unique music, each conveying a particular emotion seeking to imprint itself in your memory. Moodiness, anger, frustration, and eagerness are all there.
CIMA is a game that requires you only to play it to get deeply involved; no fancy stuff, no complicated battle systems. It will make you yearn for the medieval times, when knights used swords, and for the ways of the Wild West, when earnest warriors cocked guns with their hearts pumping, to be combined in such a way as CIMA: The Enemy has done it.
They cross the bridge, interlaid by four switches weighted down by the pioneers, sorted into four groups. Both he and she knows that at the end of this, past the warp gate, stands the foe behind all the happenstances since the abduction of the pioneers and their train, the slayer of their guru. They are prepared. They know that shocking truths will be revealed, and a fight will follow. They can only hope that they will win, and will make it out of the world of the CIMA, alive. They can only hope.
Community review by yamishuryou (June 17, 2004)
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